ep144-tamara-torres

Ep144: Redefining What It Means to Be “Productive” (and Aligning Your Values With Your Time) | with Tamara Torres


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In my Optimizer coaching & mentorship program I teach my students that in order to enjoy their work (and not end up burning out) it’s imperative that they learn how to work smarter and not harder. Most people who teach “productivity” are simply sharing strategies that allow people to run on the hamster wheel faster and more efficiently. I prefer to teach people how to be more effective with their time and energy so what they have on their to-do list actually matters.

Today’s guest, Tamara Torres, is the founder of Optima Results Coaching (I swear the name similarity is all coincidence!) where she teaches practical solutions to improve habits, increase productivity, and create time and energy for what matters most. Her background in psychology, integrative medicine, and meditation give her a holistic approach to not only coaching clients to successful careers but teaching them to also build more fulfilling, well-balanced lives beyond their jobs.

In our conversation Tamara shares her insights and strategies for aligning your values with your time and explains how they are ultimately much more connected to your productivity than your apps, to-do lists, or your calendar. As an added bonus you’ll hear her turn the tables when she puts ME on the hot seat! I share how my habit of always searching for a better way has led to great success but also great detriment. She offers her analysis and some important questions for me to consider to more accurately align my (exceedingly high) expectations with reality.

If you’re looking for a better way to manage your day, your energy, and your life to find a version of “productivity” that works for you, this is the place to begin.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How the death of Tamara’s father led to her becoming a productivity coach.
  • Why Tamara’s diverse background in health and her naturopath degree helped shape her coaching style.
  • What Tamara means when she talks about Productivity with Heart.
  • Why your values are connected to productivity.
  • Using your calendar to check that your values are aligned with your time.
  • Why scheduling intentional time with family is critical for building strong relationships.
  • Defining the difference between quantity of time and quality of time.
  • What a time audit is and why you should try it for two weeks.
  • What is a season of sacrifice and how can you apply it to your life?
  • How setting proper expectations can help alleviate stress in the family and at work.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Create a ritual at the end of your workday to smooth the transition to family.
  • Understanding your chrono type and how to make it work for you.
  • How I learned to manage my energy and time to get my work done on Cobra Kai.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Be willing to say no to things that aren’t in alignment with your values.
  • What is Parkinson’s law and how can you use it to your advantage?
  • The power of the Pomodoro Method and time blocking your day.
  • How I overcame perfectionism and reset my circadian rhythms
  • I put myself on the hot seat and Tamara coaches me on my workaholic tendencies.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Perfectionists should work on progress over perfection and practicing gratitude can help alleviate the perfectionist tendency.


Useful Resources Mentioned:

Happier in Hollywood – A podcast with Liz Craft and Sarah Fain • Happier in Hollywood

Gretchen Rubin

The Four Tendencies Quiz – The Four Tendencies Quiz

Ep75: The Four Tendencies’ (aka ‘The Matrix’ For Understanding Yourself & Others) | with Gretchen Rubin

What is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?

Toggl Track: Time Tracking Software for Any Workflow

Laura Vanderkam | Writer, Author & Speaker | Time Management

The Pomodoro Technique Explained

I Was Tired of Putting My Kids to Bed via FaceTime Every Night. Here’s What I Did About It.

How to Conduct an Annual Review (2020 Edition!) 🗓 : The Art of Non-Conformity

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Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold 0:00

My name is Zack Arnold, I'm a Hollywood film and television editor, a documentary director, father of two, an American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of optimize yourself. For over 10 years now I have obsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits rights or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you. Hello, and welcome to the optimize yourself podcast. If you're a brand new optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you're inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about the show and help spread the love? And if you're a longtime listener and optimizer O.G., welcome back. Whether you're brand new, or you're seasoned vet, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you clicked the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show, and thus the more people that you and I can inspire to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show. In my optimizer coaching and mentorship program, I teach my students that in order to enjoy their work and not end up burning out, it is imperative that they learn how to work smarter and not harder. Most people who teach productivity are simply sharing strategies that allow people to run on the hamster wheel faster and more efficiently. I on the other hand, prefer to teach people how to be more effective with their time and their energy. So what they have on their to do lists actually matters. for the entire month of April, I'm going to focus on going back to the fundamentals of what it truly means to be productive by sharing numerous case studies from actual students in the program, who have discovered a better way to approach their goals, such that they get higher quality work done that's actually more fulfilling, but in less time, and today's conversation lays the groundwork for approaching productivity from a whole different perspective.

Today's guest Tamara Torres is the founder of Optima Results Coaching and I swear to God the name similarity is all coincidence. And in her program, she teaches practical solutions to improve habits, increased productivity and create more time and energy for what matters most. Her background in psychology, integrative medicine and meditation give her a holistic approach to not only coaching her clients to successful careers, but also teaching them how they can build more fulfilling well balanced lives beyond just their jobs. In our conversation, Tamara shares her insights and strategies so you can align your values with your time and explains how they are ultimately much more connected to your productivity than your apps your to do lists or your calendar. And as an added bonus, you're going to hear her turn the tables when she puts me on the hot seat. I share how my habit of always searching for a better way has led to great success, but also to great detriment. Tomato offers her analysis and some important questions that I need to personally consider so I can more accurately align my exceedingly high expectations with reality. If you are looking for a better way to manage your day, your energy and your life to find a version of productivity that works for you. This is the place to begin. If today's interview inspires you to take the first step towards designing a more fulfilling career path that not only aligns you with work you're passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance, and especially if you would like to support mentorship and the community that can help you turn your goals into a reality. I am excited to announce that the spring semester of my optimizer coaching and mentorship program will be opening soon to learn more about the program and all that it has to offer and how we can help you achieve your most important goals. without sacrificing your sanity in the process. You can get on the waitlist and apply by simply visiting optimize yourself.me slash optimizer. Please keep in mind that I review applications in the order that I received them and I fill slots accordingly. So the earlier that you apply, the better your chances of getting into the program. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with Tamara Torres made possible today by our amazing sponsors Evercast and Ergodriven who are going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview. Please visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast.

I'm here today with Tamara Torres who is a productivity coach who helps busy professionals and entrepreneurs achieves success. And this is a huge, huge component of why you are on my show today. It's without sacrificing balance the B word. We're going to talk a lot about that today. So Tamara, it is a pleasure to have you on the show.

Tamara Torres 5:14

Thank you so much for having me, Zack, I'm so excited to be here.

Zack Arnold 5:17

Well, as I was telling you a little bit before we started to officially record, I found you or I should say more specifically, my team member found you and a Facebook group called Happier in Hollywood. That is based off of another podcast that's hosted by Liz Kraft, who happens to be the sister of Gretchen Rubin. And anybody that listens to my show knows that I am a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin and I talk about the four tendencies way more than I should have. But when my team member Debbie brought me or brought you to the table, I'm like, another productivity person. Hmm. Like, alright, I mean, I guess I'll take a look. But I've just I wasn't that excited, because most productivity people are all about getting more done being more efficient. How do I get the most out of my calendar? How do I what's the best to do list app? And how do I get better at calendars? Trello will listen that and listen, I love all the shiny objects. But at the end of the day, what I tell people in my program, and I think there's so much alignment between us, I tell them, I don't want to teach you how to run on a hamster wheel faster. I'm not interested in that. I want you to be able to get the most out of your time, and align it with the things that are important to you without burning out. Because I am just the quintessential, I have burned out person many, many, many times learn those lessons, continually learning them every single day. And as soon as I heard about this idea of productivity with heart, I was like, oh, okay, now my ears are perked up. And I want to learn more. And as soon as they started to dig a little deeper, I was like, Man, this person is perfect. So I'm very excited to have you on the show for that reason. One quick thing that I want to mention to the audience before we go further, is you don't specifically work in Hollywood, and you work primarily with entrepreneurs. But I don't want anybody listening to think oh, well, I don't know if that really applies to me, then because I'm not an entrepreneur, my rebuttal is you are even if you are a freelancer that moves from one show to the next show to the next show, you still have a business, you're the CEO of that business. And that business is you, you have to have a brand, you have to manage your own time you have to manage your expectations, and manage where you're going to put your energy and your attention. So even though you might seemingly be in a different space, I want to let everybody know all of this stuff is going to apply to what you might want to accomplish next. So all that having been said where I would actually like to start is better understanding how you became a productivity coach, given that your background and your formal education is about as far away from teaching productivity is possible. So help us get to know a little bit more about you and your own journey.

Tamara Torres 7:47

Yeah, great question. So 2010, within days of finalizing my divorce, I learned that my father was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. And so I took my daughter who was turning three, and we moved halfway across the country to be closer to my family of origin. And I left behind a clinical practice a great job and had to start fresh, piecing together work to pay the bills. One of my jobs was teaching at a technical college. And I would spend days preparing and teaching lectures and night correcting papers and exams. I was exhausted, and I didn't feel present for my daughter. And then soon after my father passed away, I joined a wellness company. So you know, fortunately, I was able to be there for that year, and accompany him and his final days. And I there's no way I could ever regret the time that we had together. But it meant, you know, significant transitions in my life. And so when I finally landed more of a consistent full time job, it was in the wellness industry in a coaching capacity rather than seeing patients. And I noticed that the people that I was coaching, were having similar issues with work life balance. And I decided that I needed to figure these things out for myself, in addition to helping my clients. And so I devoured all the information I could on, on habits and productivity. And through that process of learning and trial and error, I came up with kind of my own methodology that I called the clear method. And also along the way, I discovered Gretchen Rubin and her four tendencies and that was an amazing framework for me, and especially looking at behavior change and how to respond to those inner and outer expectations. And that was a real game changer that allowed me to understand people better, communicate with them differently provide different types of resources and help them kind of take their lives to the next level with a higher level of satisfaction and success, but also balance.

Zack Arnold 10:10

And as I understand that you also have a background in some form of medicine, correct. That's completely unrelated to productivity and psychology. So give me a little bit more background there, because I think there's a lot more synergy than people might see if they were to just look at like a LinkedIn resume.

Tamara Torres 10:25

Sure. Alright, so my bachelor's is in psychology, and then I have a Doctorate of naturopathic medicine, which is basically integrative medicine. In California, there's lots of naturopathic doctors that practice. It's a four year degree with the mix, like conventional medical school of first couple years of in class training, and last couple years of clinical. But in addition to learning all the conventional diagnostics, and lab studies, and all of that, we also learn advanced nutrition and botanical medicine and acupuncture and a little extra counseling or psychology, physical manipulation, homeopathy, just like a whole nother set of skills. And so after I've finished school, I ended up doing primary care and family medicine, and a clinic in Phoenix for a couple years before I moved to Minneapolis, I think where the synergy comes in is really looking at people holistically. And that's one of the things that I definitely want to get into in a second because I've had numerous conversations with some of the world's foremost experts specifically in integrative medicine. I'm a student of it, I'm a patient of it. It's the reason that I'm here today and still number one functioning as a human being. But number two, functioning at a very high level

Zack Arnold 11:49

as a human being is because of my love of integrative medicine. But I just want to step in with the elephant in the room for those that don't really understand the terms and they hear homeopathic and naturopathic Oh, so you're like one of those people that treats people with like incense and magic crystals, right? Like, that's what this is all about, like, come on.

Tamara Torres 12:06

Well, unfortunately, there are people that call themselves naturopath that got like an online certificate. Fortunately, there are, I think four or five accredited universities in the US and a couple more in Canada that actually provide a four year doctoral training with the clinical rotations and meeting all of the requirements, we pass boards. So it's not so much crystals and incense, but you know, definitely we can include some aroma therapy. But I think a lot of people have that misconception that naturopathic doctors don't have a high level of training. And actually, around 100 years ago, there were more homeopathic hospitals and clinics and universities, they just kind of fell by the wayside. And with the advent of things like penicillin, and other antibiotics and more increase in pharmacology and things like that, where people started to move towards quick fixes, or more bandaid solutions, rather than looking at the root of the problem. And I think now in medicine, we're going back to the source and a lot of conventional or what's called allopathic providers are looking more at how do we treat the whole person? How do we listen to our patients? And how do we look at everything that's happening within the body physically and mentally and treat the root cause rather than applying bandaid solutions,

Zack Arnold 13:38

and that's exactly where I wanted to go next. I have no intention of talking about integrative medicine, natural Pathak medicine or Roma. Roma therapy sounds great. Probably not going to talk too much about it here. But you've been trained at a very high level to learn how to look at something holistically, and find the root cause and not just treat the symptom. And if we were talking about medicine, Western medicine is very much about here's the issue, here's the disease, it's my job to make you not sick. Here's a quick solution. And integrative medicine is so much more about let's look at the whole person and understand lifestyle and behavior and psychology. And all of that training, I would believe applies equally as well to now teaching people productivity, does it not?

Tamara Torres 14:18

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think especially with my approach of not just looking at where your time is going, but why and what's really important. So I talked about productivity with heart. And the first step being that values clarification. And you know, whether you feel like your your top values are family or health or you know, maybe it's financial security, in which case, maybe spending a lot of time working really does align with your values. And maybe that's what provides a lot of satisfaction or creativity could be a huge value for people in in Hollywood and doing the work that you do provides a tremendous amount of satisfaction. So, as a coach, I'm not here to pass judgment or say what I think people's value should be. It's like this is very individual, I want you to better clarify what those values are. And then if you look at your calendar, or you look at your day to day or week to week schedule, and those values aren't presenting themselves somewhere, then there's a mismatch. And we need to bring those things into alignment where either you're realizing like, maybe the exercise in the gym workout wasn't as important as I thought, or you're saying, No, my health needs to come first. And I need to be able to better prioritize that. And, you know, same applies to whether it be family or community service, whatever that that primary value is to you, or set of values,

Zack Arnold 15:47

I think, a big aha moment for me in my own journey, because like you, and I think like many people that end up where we are, where we end up becoming coaches, whether you want to call it a life coach, or a career coach or productivity coach, whatever it is, most people don't get out of college and say, this is going to be my career path. We all go through hell, in our own form. And then we start to come out of it. And we learn all these new things. And the first reaction is, Oh, my God, I wish I had known this, I want to tell other people this stuff. And a really big aha moment for me was very similar to what you said, is this idea of are my values on my calendar. Because there are certain things I believe about myself as a person, they're not showing up in my day to day, and that misalignment was creating so much friction and stress and ultimately lead to burnout. Because I thought I was a family man, or I thought that I was prioritizing relationships. And I realized that all I did was work all the time. And I was working on things that I wasn't passionate about, but man did they pay well, and they were good credits on the resume. But it got to the point where it just didn't matter. And that aha moment was big for me. So Tom, let's go even a little bit deeper into this concept of getting values on the calendar and making sure they're in alignment. Because without that, you're just a more efficient version of busy.

Tamara Torres 17:01

Yeah. So I think once people figure out what their top priorities are, let's say for example, it's it's family time, but you're consistently working through what could be family dinner time, or maybe you're just stepping away from your computer for 20 minutes to have a, you know, brief moment of FaceTime with your family at the dinner table before kind of dragging yourself back to the computer and diving back into work. I think one sometimes work is an escape from other things that we don't want to be dealing with. And it's not a healthy escape. That's why some people are labeled workaholics, you know, it's it's an addiction, and they're they're using it to cover up something else that's not working out. But if it's really important for you to to excel at business or your work, but also be there for your family, then you have to be consistently carving out that time for your family. Most of us have that external accountability at work, we know that we're going to get the work done. But if you think about your values and priorities, that's more internal accountability, or internal expectations, nobody's necessarily holding you to those values of you're not showing metrics or KPIs. How many hours did you spend with your family this week, and without that accountability, it can be really difficult to follow through. And so for, for a lot of us, using our calendar can create some accountability. If we had a doctor's appointment on the calendar, we wouldn't flake out, you know, if we told a friend that we were going to meet them for coffee at a certain time, wouldn't miss that appointment, or if you had an appointment with your your team or your boss. So treat your family as an important stakeholder just as you would any of these other people that hold you accountable. And so if it's if it's family dinners, maybe it's not every night, maybe you know that you have a later work meeting one one night, and maybe you negotiate with your family and say, Listen, I was really hoping that maybe we could have a special Friday morning breakfast or Sunday brunch or something like that. But if you see family time on the calendar, and it's that placeholder, then you need to negotiate and figure out if this doesn't happen tonight, when can it happen. And so there needs to be some flexibility as well. But just having it on the calendar means that there's going to be a conversation. And so I do the same thing. We have a consistent dinner time, basically 5pm every day and then we'll do family time after which could be going for a walk or playing some games or watching a show together and my daughter's 13. So it's myself, my partner, my daughter in the household. And we just know those are the expectations. And that's how we've At consistent schedule, that's also very intentional, because what I'm hearing from a lot of people is that I see my family all the time, or my partner and I are both working from home, like, why do we need to schedule time together? Like, I couldn't possibly see them more than I already do. And it's very different to see someone in passing than to say, Hey, you know, there's this new podcast, I wanted to listen to it with you tonight. Can we like Connect after dinner? And do that together? Or can we go for a walk together? And that's intentional, and that intention needs to be there. And then that means we've like, cleared our schedule. We've mentally, you know, cleared what's ever on our mind. And we can be present with our family and connect in those moments.

Zack Arnold 20:45

Yeah, I think that the word presence is so important. And what we're talking about is the difference between quantity and quality. Oh, I already spend all this time Yeah, but is it good time like is that I'm sitting on the same couch as my family, but we're all on our phones and our laptops, or is everything turned off and we're playing a game. And there's a really important point that you brought up that might get lost on some of my listeners, because you use the term KPI, and a lot of my listeners are like, what the hell is a KPI. KPI is such an entrepreneurial term stands for key performance indicator. So you can measure things, what's my website conversion rate, what's my my monthly recurring revenue, etc, etc, etc. And going back to this idea of calendars, one of the things that I do in my program, and I'm assuming you probably have something similar, I teach my students how to turn their calendar into a budget. I asked them to go through and look at all 24 hours in all seven days, and they need to give me the budget for their life. How much are you putting towards sleep? How much you're putting towards exercise? How much is with family? How much is with work? And that allows them to get a more holistic picture of does this align with my values? And I didn't even think about what to do with my time because I'm sure with you as well, a client will show me their calendar as like one blue block Friday at 4pm. Well, that's a doctor's appointment. And like, that's it, that's the only thing on your calendar. And I'm guessing you've experienced the same

Tamara Torres 22:06

Yeah, I actually recommend that my clients do a time audit, where they're tracking 24 seven, for one, or ideally two weeks at the very least, so that they can really see where their time is going. And the app that I like to use for that is toggle. And a lot of people will also use it if they're doing billable hours. So they want to know exactly you know, how much time is being spent on this project or this account? And then, you know, it's really eye opening to see like, Wow, it looks like I actually spent 20 hours last week watching TV. And I didn't think I had that much time. And if you're in the television industry, well maybe that's a good use of your time, because it's might be doing some research. Or maybe you tell yourself that and maybe you don't need to do two hours in order to do some research. But I think it can be very eye opening once you start to do the tracking, and then you can start to shift it's like, does this align with my priorities? It looks like I didn't have a single hour of time one on one with my partner last week is that really conducive to having a healthy and happy relationship? Probably not for most of us. So I have people do it, you know, in the moment. And I go back and forth between having people schedule everything on their calendars versus not. And I think a lot of it depends on just the individual and what works for them. If you can proactively calendar and schedule everything, like my calendar is my to do list so that things that I want to do are showing up in my calendar at the time that's most conducive to doing them. But I think we also find that it's pretty hard to 100% stick to something, knowing that tasks can take longer or other things can come up. But the more we plan, the more likely we are to follow through and get more done. And then the idea at the end of the day is that so that you can close down your laptop, and then connect with your family make time for relationships and self care, which is just as important because if we're not recharging our own batteries, then what do we have to give the next day at work or for our families or ourselves?

Zack Arnold 24:22

You had me at my calendars my to do list? Soon as you said that I'm like, Oh yeah, you and I are kindred spirits because I have an entire lesson that's called that. And boy does that freak out creative people as soon as they know that they have to schedule their time but but you don't understand. I just I need to work when the creativity strikes when inspiration strikes. It's like for me creativity strikes about 8am every single morning because I don't give myself any other choice. What I have found with my clientele and I'm guessing you found the same is for people that are really against this idea of calendaring because they want to be free. They always tell me the same thing. I have so much freedom because I'm now using my calendar. It's it's the craziest paradox. Have you experienced that as well?

Tamara Torres 25:06

Well, I'm an upholder. And so my motto is discipline is my freedom. And it was it was a game changer for me to realize that not everybody thinks like me. And not everybody operates like me,

Zack Arnold 25:20

frankly, just about everybody else doesn't operate like you. You're very much in the minority, myself included, because I'm the vicious combination of questioner and rebel. One of the reasons I had the podcast, am I going against the grain? Asking questions to do everything, everything that other people are not doing? Right, but upholder? I can, I can see how the calendar and the discipline would be your freedom.

Tamara Torres 25:42

Yeah, it works really well for me. But I had to understand that different things work for different people. And most people do not want or need as much structure as add, want and need my partner's a rebel. So getting him to calendar things is really difficult. But I understand that appealing to his identity is the key strategy for rebels. So when it comes to appealing to his desire to be a good parent, or good partner, he is on board. And so he's accepted the fact that there are going to be some date nights on our calendar or some family times or family walks on the calendar. And as much as he initially resisted, I think he's really seen the benefit.

Zack Arnold 26:34

Well, as a questioner and a rebel, I can tell you, I hated the idea, like just the mere thought of my calendar, telling me what to do, and not only telling me what to do, but all day long, like, No way was that going to work for me, because I was Mr. Creativity when inspiration struck. And that was at 8pm, some nights 9pm other nights. And it was just go with the flow and work for hours and hours and hours and go back and do it the next day until I completely burned out. But then I started to realize that, like you said, going back to identity, my identity was that I want to create work that impacts others, and do it successfully. And I realized that as somebody that was diagnosed with adult onset ADHD, I couldn't do that anymore without structure. And that's when the calendar created freedom for me, because as soon as I was done with things, I could disconnect, and I can unwind, which I couldn't do before. Because 24 seven, I had to be achieving the next thing. And I still struggle with that to this day, I didn't say I'm a recovered workaholic. I'm a recovering workaholic. And it will be a perpetual process. But I find that if it's on the calendar, and I get it done, it's so much easier to save. Alright, I'm out for the day I did what I could do. Now I can disconnect and be present.

Tamara Torres 27:43

Absolutely. Yeah. So for the rebel in you, the calendar allowed you to be your best self, and which is aligned with your identity to be creative to be present for your family. And as long as that makes sense to you, as a questioner that makes sense that there's a good reason to do this. And it also creates that freedom for you at the end of the day. So lots of rebels will say, yeah, I'm willing to do this, this and this. And I know, the sooner that I get this done, then the sooner I have the opportunity to do this other stuff that I also love.

Zack Arnold 28:17

So we're want to go a little bit deeper Now, again, is this idea of presence, because I really want to redefine what productivity means. I think productivity is very individual. But we have this collective feeling as a society that productivity is just getting more things done. And he who has the most accomplishments, and the most crossed off of their to do list when they die wins. I'm not a believer in that at all. I'm all about presence. And there's something that you said in another interview that I listened to where again, I said, Oh yeah, you and I are cut from the same cloth. You said that balance is something you practice, it's not something you attain, which is very similar to what I tell my students, I don't want you to work towards work life balance, and think that it's this 5050 scale, I want you to work towards work life presence, where you're equally present with your work equally present with your spouse, or your partner or your kids or your hobbies or your passions. But it's this thing that you have to constantly work towards. So talk to me a little bit more about this idea of balance is not something that you can attain.

Tamara Torres 29:14

Sure. So I think one thing that I found for myself a couple of years ago was that it was really helpful for me to start my day very intentionally. So I would get out of bed and start my day with meditation practice and kind of some intention setting and think about what's involved in my day ahead. And what kinds of meetings or interactions Do I have, what parts of myself do I need to bring to the table in these different situations? And what's really important, and over and over the two things that would come up we're presence and connection. And the way I see that is, during my work day, I want to have the presence so I can do my work. be focused, and then also in my presence to connect with my clients and the people that I serve. And at the end of the day, I want to have that same presence for that same connection, but it's going to be with my family, with my friends with my loved ones. And I like how I'm happier in Hollywood, they talk about sometimes we have seasons of sacrifice. And there's gonna be days or weeks or months, where we cannot set aside as much time as we would ideally like to have for our families, for our relationships or for our self care. But these need to be kind of finite periods of time, if you find that you're stuck in a job where, you know, 24, seven, you are thinking about work, you're breathing work, and you can't escape it. And this is going on consistently, for months, something has to give. And if and if you don't put the brakes on your body will your body, your health will start to decline, you're going to notice that your performance is going to suffer, you're going to be exhausted, you're going to be irritable, and you're probably not going to do your best work. And that's sometimes people need to have a wake up call before they can actually put their foot down. And I know that when it comes to production, with movies and things like that, things are going to be really intense and fast paced during periods of time. And then there might be times where you're working very little, depending on where the cycle is in the project or what your role is. And so I think that's where the idea of in terms of balance, trying to balance being in that state of balancing, but it's not something we ever completely achieve. And sometimes balance means well works gonna be a little bit more of a priority during this period of time. And then when I have more downtime, then you know, it's gonna be a lot more family centered, and we have the more flexible, we can be kind of like a strong willow tree, the less likely we are to topple.

Zack Arnold 32:06

And I think one of the the most important parts of actually being able to make this balance happen on a recurring regular basis, is you have to be really good at helping others set proper expectations, just like you set your own expectations, talking about these tendencies. And an example would be for me, the difference between work life balance and work life presidents is, well, I can only work 40 hours a week, because I need to make sure that my family gets 40 hours a week, as opposed to Well, I'm working on Cobra Kai right now, and I'm in the trenches. But I've communicated to my family, this is going to be a really tough month. But just know the one I get through this month, there's a whole wide open space on my calendar, and we're gonna plan a trip. And we're going to do this thing for spring break. But just know right now, this is where my head is. And I didn't used to do that. I just assumed that they would figure it out. And they would see what I'm busy and they wouldn't bother me. That doesn't work so well. But as soon as I communicated the expectation, I was so afraid I remember when I took the job on Cobra Kai, the second season and I said to my wife, like, it's, I'm gonna have a really couple tough months. And I'm was really nervous. And she's like, what's the big deal? Like we've been through this before, just let me know, just talk to me about it. And we will figure it out. And that communication and setting the expectations has made all the difference in the world, the work is still hard, but there's so much less friction and stress behind it.

Tamara Torres 33:26

I agree. Yeah, having that communication and setting expectations is really important. I think there it can be harder to create those boundaries when we're working from home. Or, right now we're effectively living at work, if your your computers in your home office, which might be in your living room or kitchen or even your bedroom. And it can be really hard to step away. And for that work life to not feel pervasive, you might, you know, pass by your laptop when you're technically considering yourself off the clock. And just having that visual can kind of seep into your psyche and the rest of the day. So I really encourage people to find ways to set limits. But if you have to set and out of office reminder, just so people know that you're just not answering your email right now. And you'll get to it at a reasonable time The next day, that can be really helpful. We used to have our commutes as a buffer at the end of our day, and we have some time to decompress. And if you're just like walking out of your home office into the living room, if you're family, that can be a difficult transition. So if you can create some sort of ritual, like I have a coaching colleague, he and his wife at five o'clock they do a dance party, and they just like dance out. They're both working from home but this is like symbolic of our workday is done and now we can have fun and we can connect. Other people told me they'll leave them house and take a couple laps around the block it's like they've created their own commute or you know to hop on the elliptical and do a little bit of exercise so something that can put a pause and time and space between you and the work that's ending and the transition to to home life is really helpful and if you can like turn off your computer or put put away your computer you don't want to have it visually interfering with you being present for everything else that's important the rest of the evening

Zack Arnold 35:32

first of all the fact that you even said wait i cannot respond to my email oh my god that's terrifying you i can do that you mean i don't have to respond at 1am and get them what they need to 2:30am just because i'm home on my computers down the hall like that seems insane how dare you but here's here's the second thing i want to bring up and i know that my audience is thinking this right now you said it twice this idea of disconnecting at 5pm and the response from my audience is 5pm that's the middle of the day in hollywood are you insane not possible so for those that are not entrepreneurs to can manage their own schedule and work from home when it is about being in an office or virtually being in an office or being on a set i think it's even more important to learn work life presence versus the balancing of the numbers because most people best case scenario are done at seven or 8pm as opposed to 5pm

Tamara Torres 36:23

and there's still different ways that you can have flexibility within that so yes i work more of a traditional nine to five except for two nights a week i work until 830 and 730 and that's when i have evening clients but then i have my mornings free to do other things and so if you know that you need to consistently be working until seven or eight then maybe you're building in some some other time in your day if if you're single and it's just about making time for yourself maybe you're doing that in the morning or maybe you're taking a longer lunch there's nothing saying that everybody should live a nine to five schedule if that's not what your work environment really demands however i don't think that we should glorify this exhaustion and wear it as a badge of honor because we're working 6080 hours most of us should not be that productive and produce really good work 6080 hours a week consistently and so i know you talk about working smarter and not harder so how do we take consistent breaks how do we make time for self care get the nutrition that we need the sleep the exercise the time to connect all of these things are really important i also talked to people that have young kids and you know maybe they really want to get their kids down to sleep at eight o'clock and be available to read a bedtime story and all of that then then make that a priority and if you find that you have to log in later then that's okay don't feel guilty about it but maybe that means that you're starting your workday later so there's nothing saying that we have to have this nine to five timeframe if you're familiar with laura vander kam who writes a lot about time tracking and she wrote a book called i know how she does it i think is what it's called and she did time studies with over 100 female executives that had children so you know the whole myth of women can't have it all you know you can't be an executive and have kids and make over $100,000 and you know be in the c suite and be successful quote unquote and looking at these women's timelog she found that they have figured out ways to be very consistent and also flexible at the same time so some of the commonalities were that these women often front loaded their work where they're doing more work monday tuesday wednesday and less work thursday and friday maybe they're traveling for work and those would be their travel days but then they're only working half days on thursday and friday or maybe they're leaving work at 3pm to pick up kids and then they're logging back in two or three hours at night and the idea is you know don't feel guilty about having to log in at night especially if that afforded you an opportunity to prioritize time with your kids and your family while everybody is awake and so it's more about how can you be flexible and not try to follow the standards or the short or the expectations of other people being clear about what you expect for yourself and like you said communicating that with your family

Zack Arnold 39:49

and all of that sounds great if i have control over my time and i can maintain the flexibility but what if i'm working in the hollywood machine that does expect me to wear my exhaust Sleep deprivation badge of honor not just on my sleeve but tattooed on my forehead. It's the first thing I'm going to say to everybody every day. Oh man, I was here so late last night. How about you? I didn't even go home. I slept on my couch. Good for you, man. Like I'm first of all, I'm over it. And everybody that listens to the show knows that I'm over it. But I think a lot of people are going to come back to what you said and say, but I can't have that flexibility. I can't do that with the way that my job is structured. So I have a response for them. But I'm curious what your response would be. My sincerest apologies for the interruption in the middle of this interview. But if you are a content creator, or you work in the entertainment industry, not only is the following promo, not an interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life. Because collaborating with Evercast is that powerful. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Evercast co founders, Brad Thomas and award winning editor Roger Barton.

Roger 40:51

Living this lifestyle of a feature film editor has really had an impact on me. So I was really looking for something to push back against all of these lifestyle infringements that are imposed on us, both by schedules and expectations. When you guys demoed whoever cast for me that first time my jaw hit the floor, I'm like, Oh, my God, this is what I've been waiting for. for a decade,

Zack Arnold 41:14

I also had the same reaction when I first saw Evercast, two words came to mind game changer.

Brad 41:20

Our goal, honestly, is to become the zoom for creatives, whatever it is, you're streaming, whether it's editorial, visual effects, Pro Tools for music composition, LIVE SHOT cameras, it's consistent audio and video, lip sync, always stays in sync, whether you're in a live session where you're getting that feedback immediately, or you can't get it immediately. So you record the session. And you can share those clips with people on the production team where there's no room for any confusion. It's like this is exactly what the director wants. This is exactly what the producer wants

Roger 41:47

What matters most to me as it makes the entire process more efficient, which then translates to us as creatives who spend way too much time in front of computers, we get to shut it down. And we get to go spend time with our friends and family.

Zack Arnold 42:00

The biggest complaint and I'm sure you guys have heard this many, many times. This looks amazing. I just can't afford it.

Brad 42:05

Tesla had to release the Model S before they released the model three. So by the end of the year, we are going to be releasing a sub $200 version a month of Evercast for the freelancer and indie creatives, anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood,

Roger 42:21

I think what we've learned over the last few months is that this technology can translate to better lives for all of us that give us more flexibility and control while still maintaining the creativity, the creative momentum and the quality of work.

Zack Arnold 42:36

I cannot stress this enough Evercast is changing the way that we collaborate. If you value your craft your well being and spending quality time with the ones you love, Evercast now makes that possible for you and me to listen to the full interview and learn about the amazing potential that Evercast has to change the way that you work and live, visit optimizeyourself.me/Evercast. Now back to today's interview.

Tamara Torres 43:00

I think one the culture is shifting. And I think in in a world now where we're most of us are forced to work from home, people are saying more of the value of creating some balance and having some flexibility and adjusting expectations. And so I think there is perhaps less of that pride on the exhaustion, we don't have the same expectation of face time. You know, it used to be like, you know, the person who stays in the office until eight o'clock or nine o'clock at night or the person that's there for first thing in the morning, like those are the ones that are the hard workers and the ones that get promoted. And I think now we have a better understanding that there can be a lot of flexibility. And you know, if you're not a morning person, don't try to get to yourself to work at 7am or start your workday at 7am. There's actually something called a chronotype, which means like, we have our own type, some of us are naturally morning birds and some of us are actually night owls. And that was survival for our tribes, you know, eons ago, when they actually needed someone who was a natural night owl to stay up in and protect the families, the community. And so there's a real reason why some of us are built different. And you shouldn't try to put yourself in that box. And so if you're a night owl, and you're trying to be available from 6am. And then you know, continue to do your work until midnight, like that's a recipe for burnout. But I've also listened to some of your podcasts. And I know that you are like the health and fitness person in the teams that you work with. And I would love to hear how you've been able to say like, no, this isn't the way to go. And I'm not going to succumb to this peer pressure of working myself to exhaustion and I'm going to continue to put my own health and my self care for someone to turn it around and see how you've been able to make that happen in Hollywood.

Zack Arnold 45:00

I love that you did that, because I actually was gonna turn the podcast on myself anyway. So it's funny that you did that you and I were totally on the same page. I think that it's easier said than done and tell you have a certain level of success. When I was younger, I didn't do that I wasn't Mr. health and fitness I did where the exhaustion badge on my forehead, I was the first one and I was the last out every day. And I could work anybody into the ground. I grew up on a farm in northern Wisconsin. So we had we had that that Midwestern work ethic between us. So when I came to California, and all these what people where I grew up called the city kids, right? I'm like, Oh, my God, I can work these people into the ground. And I did and tell. I was acquainted with burnout, and depression, and suicidal depression and massive like debilitating anxiety to the point of my girlfriend at the time. Now, my wife said, Do you mind taking out the trash? And I broke down in tears? Because it was too overwhelming to do. So the short answer is I didn't used to do it the way that I'm doing it now. But what I've learned is that if you can back up your expectation of I want to put my health first I want to prioritize sleep, if you can back it up with really good work, it's a lot easier to make that cell. So it with Cobra Kai, for example, really difficult show really time consuming. But on average, I've now been on the show for two and a half seasons, I don't work more than eight hours a day. And that's not because it's an easy show. It's because I've learned how to better manage my time. And not only manage my time, but manage my energy, which is largely based on understanding my chronotype. So I love that you brought up chronotypes because that's another thing that I want people to understand about productivity. It's not just time management, it's energy management. And I was always working at the wrong time of day. I mean, like when I look back what my if I attract a calendar a decade ago. It's like what was I thinking I was doing all the wrong things until I realized that there are certain times a day that I'm super productive. And other times of day, I'm useless to this day. That's true. Everybody thinks that I'm you know, burning it 24 seven, like oh, no, I've got a window of about five or six hours where I crush it. The other 18 hours of the day, I have a heap of dirty laundry, I just do not get a whole lot done. And there's I spend every single day watching TV for one to two hours either research or spending time with family because my son loves TV. So that's intentional time, every day at about 730 or eight, Hey, Dad, you want to watch another episode of this show. That's really important how many looks forward to it. And it's just me sitting around and doing nothing. But I'm doing it intentionally. But what I will like and this is a really big thing that I impart on my students and my clients that I want to share is I think the the number one kind of piece that brings it all together is setting expectations. When I take a job, I make it very clear that I'm not going to be there. 24 seven. So in my meeting for Cobra Kai, which I had set up because I found the show and I wanted to work on it, I knew that it was my dream show, I was willing to say no, if they want to be available 24 seven, so I asked them right in the interview, like, what are your expectations? What's your workflow? Do you guys just want to send me notes at 9pm and expect I'm going to turn around by the next morning? Like, am I going to be able to go see my kids spring recital if I need to take a morning off. And I wanted to gauge what their reaction was that if you see this friction and this anxiety like, well, aren't you going to be totally dedicated to helping us create our vision, that's no longer a good fit for me, because I've been in that environment. So I make sure before I take a gig, I've set the expectation that if you want me, you're going to get the best of me. But it's not going to be in quantity of time, it's in quality of time. To this day, nobody's ever objected to the very few hours that I work because I meet my deadlines. And the work is at or above expectation usually above. But that's what it takes to prioritize that health and fitness is you have to be willing to say no to things that don't align with it.

Tamara Torres 48:51

Yeah, it sounds like you've been really able to advocate for yourself and your priorities. And I agree, sometimes you do have to be at a certain level in your career in order to be able to do that. And so when I first started coaching, I thought I would be working more with with women in their 30s 40s 50s maybe older kids are more established in their careers. And I found that I was talking to a lot of mostly women in their 20s and 30s, who are super focused on their career trajectory, you know, they may or may not be partnered yet, they're not even thinking about having kids yet. They're just like, you know, in the grind and like how do I get up to the top like how do I just do everything I need to do in order to show myself and you know, compete against everybody else and and get to where I want to be so that eventually I can take a breath and slow down and you know, unfortunately sometimes you do have to put a lot of front end work in in order to get to the status where you have enough power to kind of advocate for yourself and you're able to to bargain a little bit more, it's like if they want you badly enough, then they're going to say, Okay, yeah, that we can do that. But I think you're also right in, in terms of doing your best work, finding out the time of day that works best for you to do that work. Because I want to say maybe it's Parkinson's Law or something like that, that the, the work will expand to fill the time that we have. And so if you give yourself eight hours to do a task, it will take eight hours. But if you give yourself four hours to do a task, and sometimes for question artists, it's really helpful to be like time limited, you're going to spend this much time, you're not going to continue to do all these kinds of research, because you could, you have four hours to knock this out. And you can do some really solid quality work during that period of time. So I'm a big advocate of not just time blocking, but like consistent breaks, doing like a modified pomodoro. For me, it's 15 minutes of focus, and 10 minutes of break, that's worked really well for me, because I know, if I think about, oh, I want to add something to my Amazon cart, or I want to check my email or, you know, check what's going on here and there and social media. Look, I have 20 minutes left in my pomodoro. So let me just continue to stay focused. And when that time's up, then if I want, I can take a look at these things, usually the urge has passed, so I'm less likely to look at it anyways. And then when It's break time, great, I'm gonna go to the living room and visit with my cats. And I'm gonna grab some tea, maybe I'll even go outside and get a little bit of fresh air. And then I'm refreshed. And I can go back to my my segments of focus time. And so one of the strategies that I recommend for people is if you can identify the times that work best for you, if you can block it out on your calendar, I know not everybody's calendars respected. And we don't always have full control over the calendars. But for me, that means getting up before everybody else or because I'm a morning person are getting some work done, because I'm an entrepreneur, and I also work in the corporate world. I'm logging in to do my private coaching business stuff before I'm logging in for my corporate work. And that works really well for me, I'm getting a lot of stuff done before my family wakes up. And then after dinner, it's time to wind down and then maybe we are going to watch an episode of Cobra car together. As you know, we're already caught up. So we're just waiting for the next as

Zack Arnold 52:36

you should be, by the way as you should be.

Tamara Torres 52:38

Yeah, I think we'd binge that fairly quickly, because we could not wait for when it came out in January. And we haven't found anything else to watch since honestly, we're always struggling, like what are we going to watch for family movie night, we're usually going to some old classics, like rewatching, actually Karate Kid and stuff like that. But in terms of you know, in the evening time, because I was able to get a lot done during the day, I don't have any sense of guilt, to spend time with my family, play some cards, go for a walk, or watch a movie, watch some TV, just relax and hang out. And I because I hold myself to such high standards. And because as an entrepreneur, we could literally work all the time, I have to set limits for myself. And I've also shared these limits with my family. So it's like, after dinner, unless I have this crazy project deadline, I'm really probably not going to log into my computer, I'm not going to look at work stuff. And I'm gonna do some pleasure reading, I'm gonna do some yoga. Just Just quality time with my family or downtime for myself. And setting those limits for myself has helped me to not to resist the urge to go back to work. And that's been really helpful. I also recommend having some kind of like a service where at least 24 hours in your week, you are taking some time off. So Friday night is when we do like our family takeout. And that's just kind of a fun way for us to end the week. I might log back into work and write a blog or, you know, take care of some business expenses or finances Saturday morning, and then by the time my family's up, we're doing activities outside. And then Sunday, I probably won't do any work until maybe the evening where I'm starting to think about what am i appointments on the calendar, what do I need to get ready for the day, but a lot of weekends like from midday Saturday to almost Sunday evening. I can be completely offline. And sometimes I forget where my phone is, which can be annoying for people, like at least my friends were trying to get ahold of me, but I feel free to do that. And I've also had that pattern and set those expectations and so people kind of know That's, that's, that's where I'm at.

Zack Arnold 55:02

Well, I got to say that as a disciplined upholder, that's a morning person. Must be nice. That sounds so much fun man, that just must be so simple. Because I'm a questioner rebel that my crono type by default as a night owl, so I was just a mess of productivity, doing all the things that all the wrong times like I said, but again,

Tamara Torres 55:25

because you can be super productive after hours and maybe that's after your kids go to bed. You know, like it doesn't that work for you?

Zack Arnold 55:33

It will I've now since switched my I don't want to say I've switched my chronotype but I've been able to shift my circadian rhythms because it wasn't in alignment with both my family's needs, my client's needs and the the needs of my job. So I've had to learn how to shift all of those things. But even before I knew anything about upholder versus questioner versus obliger, versus rebel and for anybody, it's like, What are they talking about? I probably should have said earlier. Listen to my podcast with Gretchen Rubin, we're gonna put it in big bold letters and stars and Asterix and all kinds of emoji. So you find it. It is required listening for anybody that wants to learn more about themselves and about productivity. But I found that I spent I would spend all day long doing nothing out of number one fear, procrastination or exhaustion. So I would spend all day long in my office. This was when I was editing the TV show Burn Notice, it was my first really big gig in television. It was my big break my career changer. And I show up, I couldn't do anything. Because this the sense of perfectionism that I had to reach in my mind, my expectation of perfectionism had to be reached, I just had my first kid, and I was exhausted all day long. And the only thing that got me to do good work was the fear of getting fired if I didn't meet my deadlines. So I would do nothing for days. And then I would let the work pile up and starting about 8pm. When I got home 8pm to midnight, I would just go like just the craziest lit levels of deep focus and flow. And that worked. But it wasn't a long term solution. That's when I realized I had to figure out how to rewire all this. So it was just kind of a perfect storm of doing all the things the wrong way until I figured out how do we get all these expectations to align?

Tamara Torres 57:12

Yeah, it sounds like you've had a lot of insights, and you figured out how to make things more sustainable for you.

Zack Arnold 57:20

Let me put it this way, I'm going to stop you there. Because it's the perfect segue, I'm figuring it out to say that I've figured it out would be a vast overstatement. And I say that, because one of the things that I wanted to do fairly quickly, I always like to put people on the hot seat to really dive into deeper topics. And I want to put myself on the hot seat, which I don't do often. But here's why I think that you're wired very similar to me. And I have a sense that you're very honest and open with people. And I want to share with you where I'm stuck right now. And it's the way that I've been wired my whole life. And once again, I'm recognizing if this is something that I don't really curb and get in check, it could lead to bigger issues. One of the things that I talk about very often that I believe is the absolute root cause of burnout, as we've been talking about is setting and proper expectations. Just because I'm more productive, and I'm better at managing my time, and I've learned deep focus and flow, the problem doesn't go away for being a recovering workaholic. And the problem for me is learning how to set realistic expectations. So let me give you a picture of what's going on in my life as we speak. And what I need to learn is how to be okay with not meeting all these expectations. So number one, as you already know, I'm editing four episodes of a 10 episode season of Cobra Kai, literally as we speak, double checking to make sure I don't have a producer looking for me on slack while recording. So that's one thing I'm doing which for most, that's a lot. That's kind of it. That's all consuming. Cobra Kai is my side hustle. So beyond that, I also have two kids. And of course those kids are home and they're being homeschooled and I'm doing my best to help them with the math homework or, you know, the piano homework. And I think twice while we've been recording one, I heard my daughter screaming at my son and hopefully the mic didn't pick that up. Number two, she was knocking on the door looking for me. So that's another area and I'm doing my best to be a present father and watch TV with my son every evening and make sure that I can go to any and all of the events and be around during the weekends. So that's another area. Another part of it is that I'm running that currently but I have a fully fledged coaching practice. And right now I have like 72 active clients have a pool of several 100 and those active clients are people that I work with for two to three mornings every single week. So I start my week I coach I work with people one on one small groups, I mentor them, I help them through these major career transitions. Then I take that hat off then I put the Cobra Kai hat on. But wait, there's more. If you've listened to the show, you may already know this but I spent the last three years training to on American Ninja Warrior.

Tamara Torres 1:00:01

Yeah, that's amazing.

Zack Arnold 1:00:03

And I got on the show. And as of people listening to this, this will have happened in the past. But as if you recording this live, I'm going to be running the course in front of an entire TV crew in about 11 days.

Tamara Torres 1:00:16

Oh my goodness. Wow. That's That's great news. I didn't realize that that Yeah, so

Zack Arnold 1:00:20

I've mentioned it. And it's not something that I've kept private but it's not something that I'm like screaming from the rooftops either. But the point being, that's what my week looks like right now, where it's a combination of making sure I'm a present Father, I'm managing my 72 clients and making sure that I'm meeting all my deadlines have my four episodes on Cobra Kai. And just yesterday, I happen to drive all around Los Angeles, having two different two hour training sessions to get ready for American Ninja Warrior. not sustainable.

Tamara Torres 1:00:48

Now, this sounds like a Season of Sacrifice.

Zack Arnold 1:00:51

It is. This is absolutely me in the trenches. And it's funny one of my favorite lines from movies, and it's one of those more obscure ones, but I picture it every day. There's a line from home alone to where Macaulay Culkin right before the the big Act Three climax, he lifts up the brick to throw through the window. The Toy Story says well guess it's another Christmas in the trenches. And he throws the brick in every day. I'm thinking just another day in the trenches. And that's where I am now. And again, it's not sustainable. And this is not the way my life is all the time. But as soon as I got the call from American Ninja Warrior, I'm like, all right. It's trench warfare for the next six weeks. But I also know that one of my tendencies and I know that Debbie, who connected us and anybody else on my team knows that one of the the major fallacies for me is I always set improper expectations, thinking I can accomplish more than is feasible or realistic. So on that note, what recommendations might you have?

Tamara Torres 1:01:50

So there's so much there. It sounds like this is time limited. And and once you do your event, then things can relax a little bit, right? So you're on the homestretch now.

Zack Arnold 1:02:04

Yeah, I've got to be about a week and a half before recording, the show was over. But knowing me, there's always going to be another thing. It's not like, Oh, well, in 11 days, my life goes back to normal. I just fill it with another thing. And I have a an editor in the business. This was an assistant editor of mine for a long time, she's now made the transition. But she said to me at one point it was when I was producing and directing a documentary film that again, I was doing in my free time. And as soon as I finished it, even before I finished it, I started this podcast that was like seven years ago now. And she's like, could you not just take a break? Like, can should just not be doing four things at a time? And I'm like, Oh, I actually can't. So I always know there's gonna be something else. As soon as I'm done shooting American Ninja Warrior, I'm gonna fill the gap of something else. And I'm learning how do I be okay with not having to do that all the time.

Tamara Torres 1:02:56

So one of my questions is, what suffers as a result

Zack Arnold 1:03:01

suffers as a result of,

Tamara Torres 1:03:03

of having so much on your plate,

Zack Arnold 1:03:05

I would say that the biggest thing that suffers would be the version of me when I'm not actively turned on. When I show up at work, I'm engaged, I'm present, I'm focused, when I get on the ninja course. Or when I do my training, I'm there I'm focused. But as soon as I allow myself to turn the switch off, I'm just I'm useless. Like my when you said you kind of have this one day a week, that becomes a buffer. That's my Saturdays. But my Saturdays isn't energetically going to this activity or taking care of this around the house. It's just, ah, for 24 hours. And as long as I have that I usually recover and the rest of the week is good. But what if it? What if it didn't have to be that way? What if I could have energy and not feel like I need 24 hours a day to collapse and be useless?

Tamara Torres 1:03:48

So it sounds to me like, maybe it's worthwhile, like everything that you're striving for? When you're trying? You talked about filling this gap, like, what is this need, that you're trying to fulfill? And is all of this drive and all of this effort? Is it worthwhile? And my sense is that it is that you get so much satisfaction from the way you drive and push yourself the other six days a week that it is perhaps worth the time that you need to recover. And you are already performing at the level that most people can't, you're already doing the level of work that would be equivalent to you know, two or three people. And if you are not satisfied with that, then you have to ask yourself why. And at what cost would it be to yourself to to drive yourself further than you are or not allow yourself that decompression time.

Zack Arnold 1:04:52

It's an interesting viewpoint because I would say that my rebuttal as of the way things are today. I am completely satisfied. With all of it, like it is, it is both exhausting and energizing. And when you said like doing the work of two or three people, I've said to so many people, I wouldn't wish my calendar on my worst enemy. But I love it. Because I'm getting so much out of everything. But at the same time, there's still a part of me. And I've actually done extensive cycle analysis and therapy to dig into this. There's a part of me that feels like I'm never doing enough. somebody looks at the website, the coaching program, Oh, it's so amazing the impact you're having on the industry. And my first thought is, yeah, but I could be doing more, I'm not doing enough. That's the machine that drives me. And that, if I'm not very careful about that, and I'm not hyper aware of that voice, that's what leads me to the path to burnout.

Tamara Torres 1:05:42

I think we all have that nagging should have something that should be better, or we, you know, we should prioritize more this as a parent, we should do this better. I really should update my website. I think that's the case for a lot of us, like, why have I neglected my website. But you know, it doesn't, it doesn't really help us to be more satisfied with our lives. And as you may have heard in that other podcast, what's sometimes that dissatisfaction that we feel that helps to drive us really helps us to accomplish a lot. And perhaps, if you were ever to get to the point where you felt like everything was just satisfying, you would be bored, and ultimately dissatisfied. So I think you are someone who needs this inherent dissatisfaction, I bet a lot of your life is very satisfying. There's just that like, you know, 20% that you're continuing to push towards, because that gives you satisfaction, like not settling for less, you know, striving for excellence, that is your Mo. And, and you need that and you wouldn't be who you are. Without that, I think it becomes problematic when we when we have this nagging should like a lion diet as effective on my seventh day or, you know, because on the seventh day, we rest, like you, you need to recharge your batteries. So you can continue to be effective. If you if there's something else happening, like, Well, you know, on that seventh day, I'm just irritable, and I just binge eat, and nobody wants to be around me, then that's problematic. But if it's just like, just needing some rest, just needing some decompression, you probably just need to give yourself permission, because I think probably the rest of the world has probably said, Zach is doing plenty was funny,

Zack Arnold 1:07:43

because the what you just described is not so long ago in my past, let's put it that way. The I'm exhausted, I'm irritable, I'm binge eating, stay away from me. That's not me 10 years ago, that's probably me one to two years ago, and it was one of the areas where I probably was the most dissatisfied. But when you said 20%, I would say that number right now for me is maybe 5%. Like how much of my life Am I really dissatisfied with and I need to make a change, and I need to dig in and figure this out. It's like 5%. But what got me here is that number was like 95%, about five years ago. And I've told this story to my audience before and I'm not going to go into it too much. But I at least want to link to an article that I wrote that started all this it was called, I was tired of putting my kids to bed via FaceTime every night. And I was working on Empire at the time, which was it was the first season number one show all these you know, breaking these huge ratings records, cultural phenomenon. And I spent months on end putting my kids to bed via FaceTime. And I was over it. And I just said I'm so dissatisfied with getting to the rung on the ladder that I've worked so hard to get to. Who am I, I completely lost my sense of identity because I my identity was completely wrapped up in my profession. I didn't have the identity or the values as being a good father I wanted to be. But all I was was working all the time. And I was really good at what I did. I knew that I had the confidence that I'm really good at what I do. But if I take that away, and I don't want to do it anymore, then who the hell am I as a human being. So I was at 95%. Now I work just as hard. But with a level of satisfaction. It's just more mad. I need some sleep as opposed to I'm burnout and I need to totally fix my life. And I've been in both places.

Tamara Torres 1:09:25

Yeah, it sounds like you've made great progress. And I can see also as a rebel, how much your identity is important to you. And as a questioner, how much you seek to customize to make everything work for you. And you're doing better than 99.9% of us. So you're probably never going to be satisfied and that's probably okay. And it's probably going to be really hard to say it's okay to not be satisfied. And you probably nobody else can even give you permission for that. Because it has to come from within. But it sounds like if you are satisfied with your life and how you're spending your time, there's maybe not a whole lot left to tweak

Zack Arnold 1:10:11

here. But I thought I need, I need something to fix, I need something to dare I say, optimize. Because it's just I, this is totally going off the beaten path, but I just had the weirdest memory. It was, I think it must have been 2007 or 2008, I had started my own business, and I was in my mid late 20s, taking out six figures worth of debt and buying equipment and hiring employees. Because I was so tired of doing things the way that people told me, I had to do them. So I was gonna do it differently because I'm a rebel. And it was so stressing me out. And I couldn't figure out why I was making all these decisions and how I got in this hole. And I remember my dad sitting me down because he's very much into personal development and reading about all this stuff. And he's like, what's the script? What's the thing in your head that is driving you what like, if you had to pick one thing that applies to everything? And I realized it was one question, there's got to be a better way, there's got to be a better way that I can do this or that or the other thing. And that I think has gotten me where I am. But it's also gotten me into the deepest, darkest holes. Because in in addition to being a recovering workaholic, I'm also a recovering perfectionist. And that can be a trap that a lot of people fall into. And I think that's where I want to close it is this idea. And this is one of the most important lessons I've learned a lot from my ninja training. But also from all the other things I've learned about productivity and mindsets and Gretchen Rubin and all these other things is speaking to this idea of progression, not perfection.

Tamara Torres 1:11:38

That's exactly I was gonna say greater would say progress over perfection. And I agree with that. It's it's difficult when you're a perfectionist, you want everything to be done the right way. But I think I'm a recovering perfectionist as well. And I used to have a lot of analysis paralysis, because I lean questioner, and it just wasn't worth the time and energy that I was putting to try to do something just so and I had to get to the point where it's like, this is this is as good as it's going to be or it's good enough, given the time that I have, and the energy that makes sense to put forth with this. And it's good to have some level of dissatisfaction and continue to push ourselves. But we also need to reflect on how far we've come and what we've accomplished and what our other priorities are. So that we can continue to have balance and recharge our batteries and be able to bring our best selves to the next day for our family, for ourselves and for our work.

Zack Arnold 1:12:35

Yeah, I think that reflection is a big key. For me. That's something that I'm always actively working on. Because I am always about what's next, what Haven't I accomplished. And I've had to learn how to develop the skill and more importantly, the habit of reflecting like it's got to be on the calendar that I reflect on what I have gotten done. Otherwise, all I see are the tasks on the to do list or the time blocks on the calendar that are yet to come. But then if I forced myself to rifle through the last month of my time blocks like him, I got some stuff done. I'm excited about that.

Tamara Torres 1:13:06

Yeah. And that's a great way to do that, like I love Chris Gila Bo's annual review where you spend some time not I mean, it's like a self assessment. So you're looking at everything you accomplished. And like for me to go through my entire calendar for the year I'm like, wow, I did you know, this many talks or this many events are accomplished this and that I created my first course online, that was amazing. Like, I learned so much. And you know, this is what I want to be doing for the next year. But even on a micro level, having a nightly gratitude practice has been huge for me, because every day I'm reflecting on not just what I accomplished, like, you know, at the end of the day, today, I can say, I had this amazing connection with Zach. And we did this podcast together. And I feel really good about the time that we spent and hopefully, people learn something from listening. And that was a great experience. And it's gonna go and my gratitude journal, but it could just be like, I also got outside twice today for walks. And I'm in Minneapolis, and it's 50 degrees. And that is like relatively warm and mild and just having the opportunity to go outside or I saw the first Robin of spring a couple of days ago. It's like that's going in the gratitude journal. And just being able to focus on what is positive, what's going well. And bringing our attention to that. We know that when we focus on more positivity, that it creates more positivity. So just being grateful for where we at, and it sounds like you've been able to assess and see how much you're accomplishing. It's like, life's pretty good.

Zack Arnold 1:14:41

Yeah. And at the end of the day, what always stops me what I found is probably the best question that I ask because as a questioner, I've learned how to ask good questions. Right? And that's one of the things I teach my clients How do you ask better questions because better questions be get better answers. And a question that I've learned to ask myself because I always want to do more. It's never enough for me. But when I want to do something else, the question that always comes up in my mind is Yeah, but at what cost? All right, I want to write another article and I want to stay up late or I don't feel like I burned enough calories this week. Let's throw in another training session. Sure That sounds great app. But at what cost?

Tamara Torres 1:15:17

That's a great question.

Zack Arnold 1:15:18

It's usually at the cost of sleep energy, again, of irritability. And it's like it, I don't think that it's worth it. And sometimes I give myself the excuse that Oh, it's just me being lazy. But usually, I can reason my way into thinking No, actually, I should sleep in this morning. I want to jump on the rower for 30 minutes or 45 minutes or do p90x, but the cost is too great. I think I should probably sleep in. And it's taken me a long time to be okay with that.

Tamara Torres 1:15:44

Yeah, I think that's a great perspective to have. And when clients tell me that they're not doing something because they're lazy, I can always find something else that's happening in their life, that's a more important priority. And it's just like, Well, obviously, this is not the most important priority for you. And maybe you just need to accept that and be okay with it. And then we can decide, what are the priorities? And where does your focus need to go? Where does your time and energy need to go now, and having that self awareness and just being honest with ourselves, it's a step in the right direction?

Zack Arnold 1:16:18

Well, speaking of gratitude and gratitude practices, I am completely supremely grateful that Debbie connected with you in the group and brought you into my world and into the world of all my listeners, and, and readers and followers, because I think that this is everything that I believe about productivity and about being intentional. And I'm pretty sure we didn't talk about to do list apps, or specific calendar programs, or Trello. Or, you know, like I said, I love the shiny objects. But I don't think that that's what productivity, it's about. It's about intentionally knowing what do I want to work towards? What's my why, and being intentional about making sure that your values go on your calendar. So on that note, if somebody is listening today, and they've been totally inspired by your work, and they think you're a good fit, or they want to learn more, how do they find you?

Tamara Torres 1:17:05

Well, thanks for asking, actually just finding me on LinkedIn, I'm really active there. So hopefully, you can link that in in the show notes. My website is optimal results, coaching calm.

Zack Arnold 1:17:19

And another thing we have in common.

Tamara Torres 1:17:22

I'm Optima, you optimize Instagram optima results, Facebook, optima results coaching. And I offer a free strategy session so that if you want to book something for 45 minutes to just hyper focus on one area that you want to see some improvement in, I'm happy to get connected. And then lastly, I have a six week online course, which utilizes mindfulness practices, which we didn't talk a whole lot about, but to using mindfulness to to be more present and connected, and to facilitate focus and time management skills for productivity and work life balance. So lots of ways that people can get connected with me. And I look forward to connecting with everyone and I look forward to staying in touch with you, I think you and I will have to connect again down the line and check back and see what's going on in each other's lives.

Zack Arnold 1:18:17

I couldn't agree with that more. And I can already say that I would love to have you at some point as a guest in my masterminds that I do with my clients. This is a new thing that we're doing where you would essentially it would be like a podcast interview where you have a group, and it's just it's a town hall conversation, like I would bring in some of my students that are interested in learning more, and they ask questions and you solve problems. And you you would go to the top of my list of an amazing guest to have in one of our next masterminds.

Tamara Torres 1:18:42

So thank you so much, I appreciate that. I would love that.

Zack Arnold 1:18:45

Excellent. We're gonna make sure to put links to everything so people can find you, they can get the free strategy session connect with you on LinkedIn all it's going to be in the show notes. But on that note, I really am grateful that we connected and I was so happy to have you here and I appreciate the free coaching session. That's really what this was about, is I just wanted my own free coaching session because I'm cheap. So I appreciate you doing that.

Tamara Torres 1:19:05

Anytime Zack.

Zack Arnold 1:19:07

All right. Well, thank you so much.

Tamara Torres 1:19:08

All right, thank you take care.

Zack Arnold 1:19:10

Before closing up today's show, I would love to ask for just a couple additional minutes of your time and attention to introduce you to one of my new favorite products created by my good friend Kit Perkins, who you may recognize as creator of the Topo mat. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Ergodriven co founder and CEO Kit Perkins, talking about his latest product, new standard whole protein.

Kit Perkins 1:19:34

I'm into health and fitness generally, but I want it to be simple and straightforward. bout a year year and a half ago, I started adding collagen into my protein shakes. And man the benefits were like more dramatic than any supplement I've ever seen. So I thought if I can just get this down to coming out of one jar, and it's ingredients that I know I can trust and you just put it in water and you don't have to think about it. When people think of protein powders.

Zack Arnold 1:19:55

They think well I don't want to get big and bulky and that's not what this is about. to me. This is about repair.

Roger 1:20:00

So a big part of what we're talking about here is you are what you eat. Your body is constantly repairing and rebuilding, and the only stuff it can use to repair and rebuild is what you've been eating. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by everyday getting out of bed, it's like, you know, two or three creeks and pops in the first couple steps and that I thought you just sort of live with now. But yeah, once starting the collagen daily or near daily, it's just gone. So for us job 1A here was make sure it's high quality, and that's grass fed 100% pasture raised cows. And then the second thing if you're actually going to do it every day, it needs to be simple, it needs to taste good.

Zack Arnold 1:20:34

Well, my goal is that for anybody that is a creative professional like myself that's stuck in front of a computer. Number one, they're doing it standing on a table mat. Number two, they've got a glass of new standard protein next to them so they can just fuel their body fuel their brain. So you and I, my friend, one edit station at a time are going to change the world

Kit Perkins 1:20:52

And even better for your listeners with code 'optimize' on either a one time purchase for that first, Subscribe and Save order 50% off so if you do that, Subscribe and Save that's 20% off and 50% off with code optimize it's a fantastic deal.

Zack Arnold 1:21:06

If you're looking for a simple and affordable way to stay energetic, focused and alleviate the chronic aches and pains that come from living at your computer. I recommend new standard hole protein because it's sourced from high quality ingredients that I trust and it tastes great. to place your first order visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard and use the code 'optimize' for 50% off your first order. Thanks Thank you for listening to this episode of The optimize yourself podcast to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes. As well as just subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one. Don't forget to visit optimize yourself.me slash podcast and a special thanks to our sponsors Evercast and airgo driven for making today's interview possible. To learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame. And to get your real time demo of Evercast in action. Visit optimizeyourself.me/Evercast and to learn more about airgo driven and my favorite product for standing workstations to toco mat visit optimizeyourself.me/topo that's t o p o and to learn more about Ergodriven and their brand new product that I'm super excited about new standard whole protein visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well

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Guest Bio:

tamara-torres-bio

Tamara Torres

Connect on Facebook twitter Follow on Instagram linkedin website link

Tamara Torres founded Optima Results Coaching to help busy professionals take their lives to the next level without sacrificing balance. She draws on a background in psychology and integrative medicine, along with 10,000+ coaching interactions and 20 years of meditation practice. Tamara teaches practical solutions to improve habits, increase productivity, and create time and energy for what matters most.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Debby Germino and published by Glen McNiel.

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

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Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”